Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Perfect Cuppa?

“I make lousy tea these days”, said my mother the other day. “I really can’t inflict my tea on anyone else.”
Not having tasted her tea for over a year, I really cannot comment on whether it is now as lousy as she claims, but her statement got us thinking on what really goes into making a good tea.
The tea I brew may not score very high either on a taste scale or on an authenticity scale, but it is as hot and as strong as tea can get without getting unhealthy.
Indians tend to boil the milk and water together, throw in tea leaves, and let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes. While that makes for a strong cuppa, the boiling draws out the harmful tannins, which reacts with the milk to form something mildly toxic.
The Brits put tea leaves in boiled water, and add milk only after staining the tea leaves out of the infusion. Too much hard work, if you ask me.
I compromise by boiling milk and water, then adding the tea leaves and letting it brew. Which makes for a tea that is not ‘lousy’, but isn’t ‘great’ either.

Which brings me to my original question. What is a good tea? Is it an absolute, or a variable? Most often, isn’t ‘good’ merely something you are used to or something you have pleasant memories of?
Isn’t it the same with anything – food, books, movies, clothes, vacation spots?

5 comments:

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I make sun tea. It's pretty pedestrian, really. I put some tea bags in a closed container and set them in the sun for...well, all day. I bring it in, sweeten...no milk, please. And it tastes pretty darn good. But, that's just me.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Carnimire said...

Just goes to show that the "Perfect Cuppa" is totally relative - I am sure I would never be able to drink 'sun tea' - can't bear to have the infusion brew for more than a minute or two.

dipali said...

One man's tea.......
What I consider good tea would be found undrinkable by many, and vice versa. I'm enjoying greens and blacks now, more than tea with milk, which I usually make the way you do.

Rayna M. said...

@dipali - the way I am going, I know I am going to end up shifting to green tea soon - the milkiness of the tea no longer gives me a high :-(
Have you ever tried hot black tea with pudina - tastes much better than it sounds.

dipali said...

@Rayna M.: Sounds good. I do have some Ceylonese mint tea, must drink it black.

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